BMW Headlight Restoration DIY
Last Updated on Friday May 18, 2018
Tired of hazy BMW headlights? There is nothing more embarrassing than driving a luxury vehicle with oxidized, cloudy and hazy headlights. Here you will find instructions on how to permanently restore BMW headlights. Get rid of the foggy, hazy, fading, BMW headlights without having to replace the headlights. Restoring the headlights requires a simple headlight restoration kit such as 3M Headliight Lens Restoration System 39008 and one to two hours for best results.
Not only do fading BMW headlights look ugly, but they also reduce the low beam light output making it harder to see at night. You can even fail state safety inspection in some states. Follow this guide to clean and restore BMW headlights yourself, at home. These easy to follow instructions can restore the headlights on any BMW including 1-series, 3-series, 5-series, 7-series, X1, X3, X6, Z3, and Z4.
- BMW headlight oxidized
- Headlight lens looks cloudy
- BMW headlights not bright enough at night
- Hazy BMW headlight lens
- BMW headlights look ugly
- Failed state inspection due to foggy headlight
What you will need
- Headlight Restoration Kit
- A headlight restoration kit will contain several sanding discs such as 500 grit, 800 grit, 3000 grid, rubbing compound, and applicator pads. One of the best BMW headlight restoration kits is the 3M Headlight Restore Model 39008 which is what we used in this tutorial. Check out our article if you need help choosing the Best Headlight Restoration Kit for your particular situation.
- Power drill
- Your power drill needs to have speed in the 1200-1600 rpm range. The drill can be cordless or corded, it doesn't matter as long as it has the recommended rpm. Variable speed drills can be tricky to use as you can't easily control the speed.
- Painter's Masking Tape
- Use masking tape to protect your car's paint and trim. It is easy to remove and won't damage your paint. Electrical tape is another alternative. It comes off easily and the sanding discs can't cut through it easily.
- Clean and wash the area around the BMW headlight. Rinse with water. Use water and a clean cloth to clean your BMW headlight lens as well. Use masking tape to cover the body panels around the headlight. Note that if your BMW bumper or fender were poorly painted, the tape may pull out the paint when it is removed. For this reason, we recommend that you use painter's masking tape. Make sure to apply two strips on tape or the sanding disks may cut right through the tape and damage your BMW's paint.
- Attach the disk pad holder to your drill. Next, attach the 500 grit sanding disk to the disk pad holder.
- Place the drill flat on the headlight lens and turn on the drill. You don't need to apply much pressure on the headlight. Slowly move the drill over the BMW headlight to remove the haze. Go over the foggy BMW headlight covers/lens several times. Note that at this point the BMW may look even more hazy and foggy. Clean the BMW headlight with a cloth to remove the dust and inspect it periodically. If you notice areas that are hazier than the rest continue sanding to remove them. Your BMW headlight lens should have an evenly white look. This step is very critical if you want your BMW headlight lens to look like new in the end.
- Remove the 500 grit disk and install the 800 grit disc. Follow the same procedure as in the previous step to remove haze from your BMW headlight. Sand the headlight with 800 grit for at least 10 minutes.
- When you are finished with the 800 grid disc, reuse them but this time apply water to the headlight. Use 800 grip disc and water to clean your BMW headlight for at least 5 minutes.
- Next, remove the 800 grit disc and install the 3000 or 1000 pads. Apply water to the disc and the headlight lens. Clean the headlight for at least 5 minutes. You should see a white milky residual. Repeat this step several times until you no longer see the white residual. During this procedure make sure to constantly spray water to the headlight.
- Remove the previous disc and mount the foam pad on the drill. Apply a small amount of the rubbing compound to the foam pad. Without turning the drill on, rub the pad on the headlight several times then turn the drill on.
- Polish your BMW lens with the rubbing compound. If you still notice any scratch you may want to reapply the 3000 pads.
- Remove the tape and clean the area around the headlight.
- Enjoy your "new" and clean BMW headlight.
Check out results of restored BMW headlight. Driver side headlight has been restored while the passenger headlight on this BMW is still hazy, foggy, cloudy and ugly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to restore foggy BMW headlights?
The best way to restore those ugly BMW hazy headlights is to use sandpaper to remove the oxidized layers from the headlight lens. We start with 500 grit sandpaper. This step removes all the oxidation from the BMW headlight. Next, we use 800 grid sandpaper which removes the scratches. After that, we use either a 1000 grid and 3000 grid discs to make the lens look nice and clean. In the end, we apply paste to make BMW headlights look like new again. This method works best and lasts for years compared to other methods where the only paste is applied. Don't waste time with methods such as using toothpaste or coke to restore the headlight, such methods won't last. If you are looking to permanently restore your BMW headlights, use the method described here.
Will the BMW headlights turn foggy again?
Not for several years. If you removed all of the oxidation from the headlight, it can take years for it come back again.